ToNite: social innovation and urban regeneration in Turin, Italy

EU's Urban Innovative Action Program


ToNite is an urban renewal project which aims to develop multidisciplinary solutions to manage public spaces and improve residents’ perception of security at night-time along the Dora River of Turin, Italy.

3 things to know

Design ethnography and service design

Experientia explored the current culture of security – with a focus on night-time – in two different areas along the Dora River through the involvement of key stakeholders, local communities and citizens. The ethnographic research consisted of in-depth interviews, explorative urban walks and an online questionnaire.

Co-design with communities

During different phases of the project, citizens were given the opportunity to co-define solutions to improve social cohesion and the perception of night-time security and liveability of public spaces.

Develop a human-centered approach to data modeling

Evidence from research on the culture and perception of security was used to inform the design of the technology infrastructure that supported the City of Turin on related topics and defined a call for innovative local social impact projects.




Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a Program of the European Union that provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to address urban challenges.

Although research on urban issues is well developed, potential solutions are not always put into practice because urban authorities are reluctant to use their money to test new, unproven, and hence risky ideas. Urban Innovative Actions offers urban authorities the possibility to take a risk and experiment with the most innovative and creative solutions.

The main objective of UIA is to provide urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test innovative solutions to the main urban challenges, and see how these work in practice and respond to the complexity of real life.

ToNite was a 3-year project. It ran in the 2019-2023 timeframe.


The City of Turin, together with a range of partners including Experientia, participated in the 2019 call and won a €4.6 million grant with a project called ToNite.

ToNite sought to create urban regeneration and to address urban blight and decline in selected areas along the Dora River through collaborative policies based on social empowerment, active participation of residents and stakeholders, and social and technological innovation.

The main project partner was the Municipality of Turin. Other partners were: Fondazione Piemonte Innova, SocialFare, Engineering, the European Forum for Urban Security, Espereal Technologies and ANCI (the National Italian Association of Municipalities).


Experientia was particularly engaged in activating communities in exploration activities, defining areas of opportunities and requirements to facilitate civic empowerment and technology-based social sensing. This allowed the City of Turin to implement multidisciplinary and co-designed solutions to improve the livability of public spaces and the perceived security of our communities.

Experientia conducted ethnographic and social enquiry activities in target neighborhoods, engaged key stakeholders to understand the current culture of security (with specific focus on the night-time experience), and defined 33 new opportunities for the City. 

More than 500 residents were involved in the project exploration phase. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were adopted, including 36 in-depth interviews, 5 exploratory urban walks, and an online questionnaire. 

Research outputs were strategic in informing subsequent project phases. Both Opportunity Mapping and Persona Modelling were used to guide co-design processes for innovative and impact-oriented services for the target area.


We supported project partners in working with communities to co-design opportunities for urban regeneration and services to improve social cohesion and the perception of security and liveability of public spaces at night-time. 

The results led the City of Turin in defining a call for innovative social impact projects. 19 impact-oriented and sustainable projects were funded and supported by dedicated acceleration programmes.

Insights from our qualitative inquiry with citizens and city representatives also helped the team in developing an improved and integrated technology infrastructure to understand and analyze urban insecurity phenomena and to provide overall intelligence.

Within the acceleration programme conducted by different partners, Experientia supported the projects in developing their service model with dedicated sessions and service design tools, delivering 19 Service Blueprints.

The analysis of the overall ecosystem led to the co-definition of strategic guidelines for the City of Turin regarding the areas of intervention and priorities to develop and maintain a service ecosystem.


ToNite contributed to the physical regeneration of the Dora River, providing new urban furniture and regenerating unused spaces located in the area. The project intervened in two different areas along the Dora River with the aim was to understand and improve residents’ perception of night-time security and livability. The collaborative bottom-up process applied highlighted interventions, actions and services and models for residents and innovators.